Look Out Above The Next Level Wont be Long for Kuehne
Kuehne, who blasted drives more than 400 yards on at least two occasions during a wind-aided week at the Circle 'C' Ranch Golf Club, shot weekend rounds of 65, 65 to outlast a strong field. So good was Kuehne that even Jason Bohns final-round birdie barrage and Steve Runges Sunday 64 couldnt make up enough ground. Bohn, a two-time winner on the Canadian Tour who calls Atlanta home, made eight straight birdies during his final-round 63 but finished a shot back. As did Steve Runge, a 33-year-old with a Canadian Tour win and a Buy.Com Tour win as well. Runges great day was ruined by an 18th hole bogey caused by an errant second shot that found the water.
Still, this was Kuehnes weekend. And it was really fun to watch. From the two-round, 14-under par total that put him at 18-under for the week, to the gallery made up of wife Nicole and a corral of other family and friends, Hank has officially put struggles and injury behind him. Actually, Sunday playing partner Darren Griff likened the support to Jack (Nicklaus) at Augusta. Perhaps a bit of a stretch, but hes found his form that helped him to the 1998 United States Amateur title and perhaps more importantly hes having a heck of a lot of fun doing it.
Golf Channel commentators Curt Byrum and Jerry Foltz came into the pre-show meeting on Sunday talking about how Hank strolled their way on the practice range to talk about everything from golf to fashion, obviously loose before a round where he just as easily could have been tight. Ask the veteran PGA Tour winner Byrum, who took some of Hanks abuse about a rather slick pair of black shoes he was wearing! Pretty bold for a young hot shot, huh?
As far as the on-course persona is concerned, were seeing an updated Hank of sorts. Its a confident Hank. And the golf world had better get ready. He is as embraceable as he is long off the tee. And his short game is as good these days as his drives are powerful. His four straight pars between the 15th and 18th holes on Sunday included a big up-n-down at the par-3 16th, and another one at the last. Impressive to him, and it had our crew dropping jaws as well.
That wouldnt have happened a few years ago when he blew out his shoulder, causing him to accept the possibility of never playing again, let alone hitting a drive well over 300 yards. And it wouldnt have happened last year while playing on the European Tour trying to regain his form.
In Houston at the Texas Classic Kuehnes second-round 64 put him right in the chase. But a Saturday 75 that included 41 shots on the back nine figured to knock him out. Not the new Hank. He put it behind him and shot a Sunday 64 to tie for second. And perhaps that was the springboard to the win in Austin.
The 26-year-old used a Bohn-like string of six straight birdies on Saturday this time around en route to a 65, and followed it up with another on Sunday. And thus the trophy was his, the struggles were a thing of the past and everyone was left to look at the bright future which lies ahead.
There is no doubt that Kuehne has the game to succeed at the highest level. Heck, hell make Tiger look like a short-knocker at times. Hes really THAT long. But the long and short of it all is that Kuehne has things in perspective. His smile is as electric as his game and it appears his game will go as far as he wants.
One more thing, if Hank Kuehne comes your way and starts wearing you out with conversation, take advantage of it. This guy is gonna be something!
Weather extends Barbasol to Monday finish
NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - A thunderstorm has suspended the fourth round of the PGA Tour's Barbasol Championship until Monday morning.
Sunday's third stoppage of play at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came with the four leaders - Hunter Mahan, Robert Streb, Tom Lovelady and Troy Merritt at 18 under par - and four other contenders waiting to begin the round.
The tournament will resume at 7:30 a.m. on Monday. Lightning caused one delay, and play was stopped earlier in the afternoon to clear water that accumulated on the course following a morning of steady and sometimes-heavy rain.
Inclement weather has plagued the tournament throughout the weekend. The second round was completed Saturday morning after being suspended by thunderstorms late Friday afternoon.
The resumption will mark the PGA Tour's second Monday finish this season. Jason Day won the Farmers Insurance Open in January after darkness delayed the sixth playoff hole, and he needed just 13 minutes to claim the victory.
Watch: Spectator films as Woods' shot hits him
It was a collision watched by millions of fans on television, and one that came at a pivotal juncture as Tiger Woods sought to win The Open. It also gave Colin Hauck the story of a lifetime.
Hauck was among dozens of fans situated along the left side of the 11th hole during the final round at Carnoustie as the pairing of Woods and Francesco Molinari hit their approach shots. After 10 holes of nearly flawless golf, Woods missed the fairway off the tee and then pulled his iron well left of the target.
The ball made square contact with Hauck, who hours later tweeted a video showing the entire sequence - even as he continued to record after Woods' shot sent him tumbling to the ground:
The bounce initially appeared fortuitous for Woods, as his ball bounded away from thicker rough and back toward the green. But an ambitious flop shot came up short, and he eventually made a double bogey to go from leading by a shot to trailing by one. He ultimately shot an even-par 71, tying for sixth two shots behind Molinari.
For his efforts as a human shield, Hauck received a signed glove and a handshake from Woods - not to mention a firsthand video account that will be sure to spark plenty of conversations in the coming years.
Molinari retirement plan: coffee, books and Twitter
After breaking through for his first career major, Francesco Molinari now has a five-year exemption on the PGA Tour, a 10-year exemption in Europe and has solidified his standing as one of the best players in the world.
But not too long ago, the 35-year-old Italian was apparently thinking about life after golf.
Shortly after Molinari rolled in a final birdie putt to close out a two-shot victory at The Open, fellow Tour player Wesley Bryan tweeted a picture of a note that he wrote after the two played together during the third round of the WGC-HSBC Champions in China in October. In it, Bryan shared Molinari's plans to retire as early as 2020 to hang out at cafes and "become a Twitter troll":
Molinari is active on the social media platform, with more than 5,600 tweets sent out to nearly 150,000 followers since joining in 2010. But after lifting the claret jug at Carnoustie, it appears one of the few downsides of Molinari's victory is that the golf world won't get to see the veteran turn into a caffeinated, well-read troll anytime soon.
Molinari had previously avoided Carnoustie on purpose
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Sometimes a course just fits a player’s eye. They can’t really describe why, but more often than not it leads to solid finishes.
Francesco Molinari’s relationship with Carnoustie isn’t like that.
The Italian played his first major at Carnoustie, widely considered the toughest of all The Open venues, in 2007, and his first impression hasn’t really changed.
“There was nothing comforting about it,” he said on Sunday following a final-round 69 that lifted him to a two-stroke victory.
In fact, following that first exposure to the Angus coast brute, Molinari has tried to avoid Carnoustie, largely skipping the Dunhill Links Championship, one of the European Tour’s marquee events, throughout his career.
“To be completely honest, it's one of the reasons why I didn't play the Dunhill Links in the last few years, because I got beaten up around here a few times in the past,” he said. “I didn't particularly enjoy that feeling. It's a really tough course. You can try and play smart golf, but some shots, you just have to hit it straight. There's no way around it. You can't really hide.”
Molinari’s relative dislike for the layout makes his performance this week even more impressive considering he played his last 37 holes bogey-free.
“To play the weekend bogey-free, it's unthinkable, to be honest. So very proud of today,” he said.